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Active Back to School

*Written and published for Norfolk County Tourism www.norfolktourism.ca

When it comes to learning, good health is a very important factor for success in school.

As you and your kids return to the routine this week, it is time to plan for a healthy fall for the whole family!

This month, I will address various aspects of health and hope to empower you to make some small changes into your routine to promote a healthy life for you and your family.

First, let’s focus on fitness!

I am a mom of two and I totally get that between the extra-curricular activities and helping with homework it is challenging to make fitness a priority for your family. Here are 3 tips to help you navigate active living.

 

PLAN AHEAD

As we start the month of September, I suggest that you make a plan. Planning goes a long way when you are trying to focus on wellness.  Norfolk County has loads of resources to offer you alternatives. One of the tools I love to use is Norfolk’s Recreation Guide http://www.norfolkcounty.ca/living/parks-and-recreation/. There are so many groups and activities offered locally that you will certainly find something that suits your family. Get the list of parks, arenas and other facilities and make some plans for fun activities with your kids. Walks, hikes, skating and swimming are inexpensive activities that will make everybody smile! Write these activities in your monthly calendar to hold yourself accountable.

 

DON’T OVERSCHEDULE

While I invite you to make plans for your family, I encourage you not to over schedule yourself. It is so easy to try to do it all and forget space for downtime. As your kids get started with their new routine, they will be tired and will also cherish time to lay low and cozy up with you. It’s all about balance! It’s about creating a schedule that fits your life. It’s ok to say no and it’s ok to leave some blank spaces in the calendar for family time.

Active kids will likely be more successful at school. It is time to look into Norfolk County’s many amazing programs and register. Hockey (including the first shift for first time players), skating, swimming, gymnastics, basketball, dance, martial arts and many other programs will make sure your kids get their sweat on! Search through the guide or other publications to see what peaks your child’s interest.

 

TIME IN NATURE

Research shows that there are so many health benefits from spending time out in nature.  A walk on a local trail or visit to the beach is a great de-stressor. Remember that the weather is usually wonderful in September.  Don’t call it quits on summer yet, keep going outside! The Lynn Valley Trail has awesome spots for a family hike. Long Point is also a really good spot to get some steps in. Kids will love to walk along the water’s edge. They won’t even know that they are exercising! Biking gets everybody moving, plan a little outing around Norfolk this month to stay active.

 

I invite you to join me this Thursday at 1pm live on the Norfolk Tourism FB page as I chat about another aspect of healthy living for families.

Amelie Chanda - Wellness Coach

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7 Tips to Keep You Sane for Back to School

It’s that time of year again – back to school! Summer has been fun but if you are like me, you are totally ready to send the kids back to their classrooms! Getting back to a routine can be exciting but also stressful. Life with kids is busy, and often we find ourselves pulling our hair out right now trying to fit everything in your busy day.
So in theory, back to school seems like a relief but we don’t necessarily look forward to the full schedule and a million things to do every day. In between driving the kids to their extra curricular activities, helping them adjust to their new routines, and making healthy lunches, you might feel a little stressed. And understandably so!

So what can we moms do to keep sane and recharge during the back to school madness? Here are 7 tips for you!

Schedule time for yourself
First of all, the most important thing to remember is to make time for you. I know, there are plenty of things that need to be done – kids need help with homework, laundry is piling up to the sky, and don’t even get me started about juggling a job too! But you must pencil in some escape time just for you. Your little ones are depending on you to keep your wits about you, so write down times during the week that are just for YOU. Plan an activity for you that you can look forward to. It can be as simple as a quiet walk or treat yourself to a mani\pedi. A yoga class or some time for a good book can also do the trick!

Stay active
Create time for your workout. Being active can make you feel incredibly well physically and emotionally. Staying active could mean walking or running around the neighbourhood track, going to a yoga or Zumba class, or lifting weights at the gym. Speaking of the gym, there are many gyms that offer childcare while you do your thing. Take advantage of it! Also many back to school deals, sign up now!

Prep items that go in lunches
The last thing you want to do is scramble around trying to get your kids’ lunches together 10 minutes before they have to leave. We’ve all been there! To avoid the morning frenzy, the night before (or even a few days before) prepare lunch items so that they are ready to go. Place them in the fridge right in front for easy reach in the A.M. Prep veggies, yogurt in small containers, mini muffins…

Wake up early to meditate
I know it’s hard to wake up even earlier than you have to. But trust me, those few extra minutes will do wonders for your mood and ability to handle stress. And keep in mind that meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting cross-legged and making “Om” sounds (although you can do that too!). Meditation can simply be a few minutes of stillness as you focus on your breath, or setting an intention for your day. It can be whatever you need to connect with your inner self and your breath.

Display an activity board for the family to see
Between dance recitals, baseball practice, and school meetings, it feels like I need a secretary sometimes to keep track of it all! Why not display an activity board in the kitchen or hallway for the whole family to see? You can purchase a simple large cork-board, and the kids can help personalize and decorate it with fun stickers, pins, and buttons.

Keep it simple with multiple containers and bottles
When you’re making your children’s lunches, rely on multiple containers for convenience and ease of access. Remember when your school lunch consisted of a sad-looking peanut butter and jam in a Ziploc bag? Not these days! Bento boxes are great for healthy, cute, creative lunches. And don’t forget reusable water bottles that are BPA-free, and color-coded for each child. Make sure they are dishwasher-safe, too!

Breathe when things get too hectic
It’s a given that you’ll have hectic days when nothing seems to go right. The best thing you can do is to stop, breathe, and reboot. Try a few yoga poses like Child’s Pose or a few Downward-Facing Dogs in your bedroom to relax your mind. Then go back to the chaos recharged and rejuvenated! Check out this link for other poses that can help you relax and reduce your stress level. http://www.yogajournal.com/category/poses/yoga-by-benefit/stress/

Choose one or a few of these tips and notice how this back to school season works for you. Adjust and keep the positive energy flowing. We are all human, it’s ok to make mistake and to feel overwhelmed but shifting your strategy will likely keep your physical and emotional health in check!